The best of stories: The people of the Sabbath

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

This is the fourth piece in the series. Read the third one here.

And ask them (O Muhammad ) about the town that was by the sea, when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them for they used to rebel (see the Qur’an: V.4:154).And when a community among them said: “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?” (The preachers) said: “In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allah), and perhaps they may fear Allah.”So when they forgot the remindings that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized those who did wrong with a severe torment because they used to rebel (disobey Allah). So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.” (It is a severe warning to the mankind that they should not disobey what Allah commands them to do, and be far away from what He prohibits them). [Surah 7:163-166]

The town where the event happened was not mentioned anywhere in the Quran.

The people in the community were ordered not to fish on the day of the Sabbath. The sea had more fish on the Sabbath day than any other day. Based on their actions, they were divided into three groups;

  • Group 1 – they decided to cheat and put out their nets the night before the Sabbath. Then the day after, they pick up their fish.
  • Group 2 – They did not cheat but did not advise those in group 1 against heir actions.
  • Group 3 – they did not cheat but actively advised against it.

Those in Group 2 tried to prevent those in group 3 to refrain from advising the cheats. To which they (group 3) responded, that they were doing it as an excuse to Allah or so that they would fear and stop doing it. Allah saved the reminders and punished the wrongdoers.

Lessons and reflections

  • Sometimes we may be afflicted or tempted with what we want the most. We see it dangled in front of us or that everyone else is getting it/doing it except us. If it is something prohibited, because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it a lesser sin. If it is something Allah withheld (Al-Qabbid) we should see it as a test and accept that His withholding of it is as a mercy to us. The thing is not the best of us at that time. No matter how bad we want to get married, a child, that job, that internship, that admission, that vacation, we should trust in the will of Allah. There is no need falling into mental deprivation.
  • Sustenance is from Allah – Allah is responsible for our provisions (Ar-Razzaq) and if we completely trust and rely upon Him, he would provide for us from where we do not expect.
  • As an excuse to your Lord – so that they might have Taqwa. – we need to call to good any chance we get
  • Do not judge – the people in the third group did not judge/condemn/criticize others. They understood that their job was to call and the ones being called to may come around or not.

Action points

  • Believe in Allah and accept His plan for me. No matter how bad I want it until Allah destines it, I would not have it. I should not allow myself fall into a state of desperation which could lead me to sin against my Lord.
  • I have a duty to call to the path of goodness.
  • I have no right to judge/condemn a sister simply because she has ‘obvious’ sins or her hijab doesn’t meet my standard.
  • I should advice people with tact so that they do not get so hurt, they end up straying farther away from the path of Allah.

May Allah keep us firm on His Deen. Ameen


15 thoughts on “The best of stories: The people of the Sabbath

  1. Haya says:

    Jazak Allahul khair for the remainder. ❤
    How often do we stop to advice others? In spite of trying our best to please Allah,we choose to ignore others!! Why?
    May we fear only Allah. May we be like group 3 for our own good.


  2. Fozia S says:

    The problem is these days people don’t advise with tact…..and those that do advise with tact still get abused because people these days aren’t prepared to listen and use the term ‘haram police’ whenever anyone genuinely advises


  3. marinafarook says:

    Ameen. sister, i really liked the layout of this post : first the reference, then lessons then action points. this format of writing is easy to understand
    jazakallahu khairan


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